A former top diplomat, a key impeachment witness who testified against former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial, is suing former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department for $1.8 million in legal fees. The Washington Post reports that the lawsuit, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia, alleges that Pompeo failed to keep his promise that the State Department would cover the fees after Sondland delivered testimony that accused the former president and his aides of pressuring the government of Ukraine in a quid pro quo to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for military aid.
“The complaint alleges that Pompeo told Sondland that government lawyers would not be made available to represent him but that if he hired his own counsel, his attorney fees would be covered by the U.S. government,” the outlet reports. “Top aides to Pompeo also acknowledged this commitment, the suit alleges, but “everything changed” after Sondland delivered his testimony alleging a “quid pro quo” and then refused to resign despite a request from one of Pompeo’s most trusted aides, Ulrich Brechbuhl.”
“Ambassador Sondland confirmed he would not resign because he did not do anything improper. After that, everything changed. Ambassador Sondland did not receive his attorneys’ fees, notwithstanding the promises from the State Department that the attorneys’ fees would be paid,” the suit alleges, according to the Post.
“Sondland is demanding that the U.S. government cover the fees or Pompeo pay out of his own pocket,” the report states. ‘The suit argues that Pompeo’s actions as secretary of state should not be subject to governmental immunity because the promise “was self-serving, made entirely for personal reasons for his own political survival in the hopes that Ambassador Sondland would not implicate him or others by his testimony.”’
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Sondland, nominated to his post in 2018, donated $1 million to Trump’s presidential inaugural committee in 2017. That sure sounds like another quid pro quo to me. The suit won’t be a good look for Pompeo. Pompeo suggested in early March that he would run for president in 2024 if Trump decided against another bid for the White House.